Australia’s August jobs report is about to be released.
Providing this jobs report with more market-moving clout than most, it will also contain quarterly readings on underemployment and underutilisation, two measures of the level of labour market slack that exists within the Australian economy at present.
With the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) inflation and GDP growth forecasts underpinned by an expectation that stronger labour market conditions will lead to a gradual pick-up in wage growth, any changes in these measures could shift the dial on the outlook for interest rates.
That means they could be as influential, or perhaps more, than the headline change in employment and Australia’s unemployment rate.
Here’s the state of play:
- In July, employment rose by 27,900 in seasonally adjusted terms, leaving total employment at 12,201,400, the highest level on record.
- The increase extended Australia’s run of consecutive jobs growth to 10 months, the longest stretch since early 2011.
- Part-time employment jumped by 48,200, offsetting a 20,300 decline in full-time workers. That reversed the trend seen in prior months.
- Reflective of the drop in full-time employment in July, total hours worked fell by 14.4 million hours to 1.69 billion hours.
- Over the year, full-time employment jumped by 197,700, outpacing a 41,600 increase in part-time workers.
- The annual gain in full-time employment was the largest increase since November 2015. Annual growth in part-time employment was the smallest since October 2014.
- Combined, total employment rose by 239,300 over the year. Of that, 189,000 came in over the past five months, marking the strongest period of hiring since January 2005.
- The national unemployment rate fell to 5.6% thanks to a lift in labour force participation which rose to 65.1%, the highest level since January 2016.
- With more Australians entering the labour force, the number of unemployed workers edged up to 730,600, an increase of 1,100.
- Today, economists expect another solid report card to be delivered.
- Of the 13 economists polled by Thomson Reuters, the median forecast is centred around an increase in employment of 15,000. Individual forecasts range from an increase of anywhere between 7,500 and 21,000.
- With employment expected to increase and participation holding steady, the unemployment rate is tipped to remain at 5.6%.
- The ABS will also release quarterly underemployment and underutiisation rates.
- When last released in May, underemployment — largely capturing those who are in employment but who would like to work more hours — fell 0.1 percentage point to 8.8%.
- Underutilisation — combining unemployment and underemployment — fell 0.4 percentage points to 14.4%.
- Despite the declines, both remained at elevated levels.
- Along with these figures, markets are likely to be driven by the headline unemployment rate, the split between full-time and part-time hiring, along with changes in total hours worked.
The report will be released at 11.30am AEST.
Business Insider will have all of the details as soon as the data drops.